“ACTS Retreats, St. Francis’ Birthday, Praying to the Saints, and More!” – †


 

25thWednesday in Ordinary Time

Today’s Content:

 

  • ·        Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations (occasionally)
  • ·        Today in Catholic History
  • ·        Catholic Apologetics
  • ·        A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • ·        Reflection on article  of  the OFS Rule 

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:

 

“ACTS” celebrating their 25th Anniversary this week.

An ACTS retreat is a Catholic laypersons retreat which is presented by fellow parishioners.  The talks and activities during the retreat focus on Adoration, Community, Theology, and Service.  Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are the guides for ALL ACTS retreats. 

“ACTS” retreats have enriched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, and in other countries.  The retreats have reinvigorated the spiritual lives of individuals, of families, and of entire parishes.  The way this wonderful program came to be is a beautiful blend of the Holy Spirit and those who listened to His words. 

To start, no history of ACTS would be complete without the help of, and some familiarity with, the “Cursillo” retreat.  Cursillo began in Spain in the years between WWI and WWII in response to what many in the church saw as the increasing secularization of many Catholics in Spain at the time.  It was intended to be a short course (the Spanish term for “short course” is “cursillo”) on the Catholic faith.  Cursillo soon became widely popular for its profound effect on people’s spirituality.  By the mid 1980’s, it had spread to many places in the world, including Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Selma, Texas, a suburb of San Antonio.  It was here that three men who were heavily involved in Cursillo movement planned the first ACTS retreat. 

From the beginning, ACTS retreats were open to everyone, not just Catholics, and not just to those who were sponsored by someone.  Three men met at a coffee shop to create this new retreat called ACTS.  Their inspiration – – in the Acts of the Apostles, it described what the apostles did – – are we not the apostles of today?  Acts 2:42-47, became the biblical inspiration for the ACTS movement: 

“They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.  we came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.  All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need.  Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes.  They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.  And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47).

After the first retreat in 1987, ACTS spread from parish to parish in the San Antonio Archdiocese, and by 1997 there were perhaps 15 parishes with an ACTS program in place.  Today, thousands of volunteers every year bring the “ACTS” retreat to even more people, thousands, allowing them to experience the love of God through their fellow Christians.  ACTS is now in at least 22 states in the U.S., 8 states in Mexico, Canada, Honduras, South Africa, and England. Interest is growing literally around the world. 

People have credited ACTS with saving their lives, saving their marriages, convincing them to be ordained as priests or deacons, or leading them to the religious life – – simply by opening their eyes and their hearts to God’s word.  Parish Pastors have praised its positive effects on their parishes, leading many to fostering a highly invigorated parish life.  Bishops, and other church leaders, have called “ACTS” the most important movement in the Catholic Church today; all this from a handful of faith-filled people with the courage and perseverance to be led by the Holy Spirit.  

For more information, I have added a link to the ACTS Mission site from which I took most of this information:

http://www.actsmissions.org/

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Today in Catholic History:

    

†   1181 – Birth of Saint Francis of Assisi, Italian founder of the Franciscan Order (d. 1226)

†   1468 – Death of Juan de Torquemada, Spanish Catholic cardinal (b. 1388)

†   1897 – Birth of Pope Paul VI, [Giovanni Montini], 262nd Roman Catholic pope (1963-78)

(From the “On This Day”
Blog Site otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

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Catholic Apologetics:

 

My reason and purpose for this section on my blog is to provide “scriptural confirmation” for our beliefs and doctrines, not to cause dissention or opposition with my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, yet not in union with the Roman Catholic Church.  Whether God speaks to us through the “Bible”, or through “Tradition”, it is the Holy Spirit who inspires the “Word” from which all authentic tradition flows.

Tradition can be separated into two aspects: oral and behavioral.  Oral tradition includes written forms.  After all, it ALL started with oral tradition.  Behavioral tradition includes Baptism, Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, Laying on of hands for healing, Intercessory prayer, and Ordination. 

All Scriptural verses are taken from both the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Praying to the Saints

“‘And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is not God of the dead, but of the living . . .’” (Mark 12:26-27) RSV.

“And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?  He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err” (Mark 12:26-27) KJV.

***

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely …” (Hebrews 12:1) RSV.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us …” (Hebrews 12:1) KJV.

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A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: Blessed Delphina (St. Elzear and Blessed Delphina) (1283-1358)

 

These two are the only Franciscan “couple” to be canonized or beatified formally.  

Elzear came from a noble family in southern France.  After he married Delphina, she informed him that she had made a vow of perpetual virginity; that same night he did the same.  For a time Elzear, Count of Ariano, was a counselor to Duke Charles of Calabria in southern Italy.  Elzear ruled his own territories in the kingdom of Naples and in southern France with justice.

Both Elzear and Delphina joined the Secular Franciscans and dedicated themselves to the corporal works of mercy.  Twelve poor people dined with them every day.  A statue of Elzear shows him curing several people suffering from leprosy.

Their piety extended to the running of their household.  Everyone there was expected to attend Mass daily, go to confession weekly and be ready to forgive injuries.

After Elzear’s death, Delphina continued her works of charity for 35 more years.  She is especially remembered for raising the moral level of the king of Sicily’s court.

Elzear and Delphina are buried in Apt, France.  He was canonized in 1369, and she was beatified in 1694.

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From
http://www.americancatholic.org website)

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Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) Rule
Article #’s 25 & 26 of 26:

25.  Regarding expenses necessary for the life of the fraternity and the needs of worship, of the apostolate, and of charity, all the brothers and sisters should offer a contribution according to their means.  Local fraternities should contribute toward the expenses of the higher fraternity councils.

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26.  As a concrete sign of communion and co- responsibility, the councils on various levels, in keeping with the constitutions, shall ask for suitable and well prepared religious for spiritual assistance.  They should make this request to the superiors of the four religious Franciscan families, to whom the Secular Fraternity has been united for centuries.

To promote fidelity to the charism as well as observance of the rule and to receive greater support in the life of the fraternity, the minister or president, with the consent of the council, should take care to ask for a regular pastoral visit by the competent religious superiors as well as for a fraternal visit from those of the higher fraternities, according to the norm of the constitutions.  

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